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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Marie Sharp

East Lothian 'green' house labelled a 'blot on the landscape'

Plans to build a ‘grass-roofed’ house next to a listed building have been thrown out after it was branded a 'blot on the landscape' by one councillor.

East Lothian planners refused to grant planning permission for the four-bedroom home next to North Berwick’s Drinking Water Tank, just outside the town, in July this year.

However representatives for applicant Tom Tait challenged officers decision and the council's policy against allowing new houses to be built in the countryside.

READ MORE: East Lothian 'green' house rejected over claims it would damage skyline

In an appeal to the council's Local Review Body they argued that the site of the new house was just 180 metres from the town’s boundary, and would be 'infill' on a corner of an agricultural field which had become unusable.

And they said the council's policy against new builds in the countryside was against national guidance.

The new home, at The Heugh, North Berwick, would have had a roof covered with green sedum – a type of plant which grows out in a mat shape.

Sixteen objections to the plans for the new house were lodged, with concerns about the loss of prime agricultural land, impact on wildlife and the views at the site and claims it would ‘dwarf the existing pair of houses to its east”.

And North Berwick Community Council objected over the visual impact of the house on the area.

At a meeting of the Local Review Body councillors expressed concern about the location of the proposed house.

Councillor Cher Cassini said: "It is a stunning area and they have gone to a lot of trouble to try and mitigate the impact but it would be a blot on the landscape quite frankly."

And Councillor Andy Forrest agreed saying he had no issue with housing being built to enable rural activities as set out in the policy but "a new build (in the countryside) just for a new build, I do not support that."

The review body unanimously agreed to reject the appeal and uphold the officers decision.

However Councillor Jeremy Findlay said he was turning down the appeal with a "heavy heart".

He said: "It seems strange the rules and regulations stop an individual building a house but do not seem to stop large scale developers building on agricultural land. That is something we need to look at in the future."


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